John C. Sinkovic                   Inducted 1997 - Class of 1948

Since he retired in 1993, John Sinkovic's volunteer work schedule and list of hobbies has been exhaustive. One would wonder how he manages to do so much with only 24 hours in a day. But those who worked with him during his 50 years of employment at St. Vincent's Hospital would not wonder. Affectionately known as "Mr. St. Vincent," John Sinkovic was a living legacy to his co-workers. And it all began while he was a student at Woodward. . . .

"Sink," as he was called by some of his classmates, began working at the hospital when he was 14. After attending both St. Joseph's and St. Frances DeSales Catholic elementary schools, he attended Woodward his freshman year. At the time, he lived in the "Ole North End" and remembers elephants passing his house on their way to the circus grounds on Manhattan Boulevard. Despite moving to West Toledo, he continued to attend WHS by traveling daily on the street car trolley down Sylvania Avenue to Cherry Street to Woodward.

John made many friends while at Woodward, and some of them later worked with him at the hospital. Among his chums were Art and Mary Wietrozewski, Dorothy Gordon, Milly Bukowski, Dolly Bonkowski, Chuck and Katie Sampson, Andy Douglas, Joe Shibley, Jack Munger, Bud White and Fred Henzler.

John enjoyed all his teachers, who "knew their subject material and related it to the students." His favorites were Mr. Sheline, Belle Joseph, Joe Stobinski, Mrs. Ersig and Mrs. Wetterman. Several of his teachers encouraged him to take a job at St. V's. John had to choose between playing sports (track and football) and his job at the hospital. "I'm glad I kept my job." John did find time to participate in Student Council, working with other members at the change booth during lunch hours and movie periods.

After graduating in 1948, John continued his "career" at St. V's. He had started at age 14 washing floors in the Radiology Department. "You were supposed to be 16 and have a working permit, but the nuns were glad to have the help." John progressed to cleaning window sills, emptying trash and transporting patients. Sister St. Rene, a Grey Nun who ran the radiology department, took a liking to young John, probably "because I always did what I was told." But she did refuse to let him start work until he had completed his homework. John soon was learning how to mix developer and fixer and developing film in the darkroom. By the time he was 17, he was taking X-rays. He went on to become registered as a radiology technician-without formal schooling. In 1949, at the age of 19, John was elected Vice President of the Toledo Society of X-ray Technicians. In 1971, he became the Administrative Head of the Radiology Department. As technology in radiology drastically changed, John was "in the thick of it."

John became known as "an energetic leader, truly concerned about his patients." "We're here for the patient. I like the challenge of it." But his service to St. V's went beyond patient care. He served as Chairman of the United Way campaign and was elected by his fellow department heads as chairman of the hospital’s Management Coordinating Committee. In 1981, he was named "Boss of the Year" by Glass Image Chapter of American Business Women's Association. In 1992, he was recognized as "Employee of the Year," chosen by his peers.

In 1983, after 40 years of service, John was honored as St. Vincent’s Hospital’s longest service employee. He was known to be a walking encyclopedia of hospital trivia. His only request for his 40th anniversary was a private parking space, which he received, along with a watch engraved "Go for It!" This slogan commemorated his remark that he would like to put in another 10 years. "I think anyone can do anything they want to. You just have to know what there is to do and do it!" John did, in fact, put in another 10 years. He retired in 1993 after 50 years, 12,000 shifts and 480,000 hours of service. In an age when professional people move from job to job in their ambitious pursuit of a career, John was a rarity-one who rose through the ranks and retired from the organization who was his one and only employer.

As you would imagine, a lot of memories accumulate in 50 years. John will always remember the night of March 21, 1968, when he delivered twin baby boys after their mother went into labor in the Radiology Department. What a Night! He also expresses pride in the many scientific papers he authored and exhibits he presented at state and national conventions. Several have won awards

After so many years of touching so many lives, John continued a busy agenda of volunteer work and pursuit of his many hobbies. He also has more time to enjoy his family-his mom, 2 sons, 3 grandchildren, a brother and sister.

John's co-workers once said that "there is evidence that work and play wage a tug of war with his heart." That remains true today. John is a volunteer at St. Vincent's Hospital and Maumee Bay Nature Center. He has given slide presentations to various groups on his trips to Alaska, Kenya and Nairobi. John enjoys playing golf, boating, bow-hunting, woodworking, photography, gardening, cooking, Indian feather painting, and collecting stamps, coins and bone artifacts. For 40 years, he's been a member of the Mudjaw Bowmen Archery Club, serving as President for 10 years. "Just for fun," John plays Santa Claus in the premi nursery at St. V's and has done face-painting for more than 900 kids at various events.

At a recent Woodward alumni luncheon, Jim Wilusz announced John's election to the Hall of Fame. "At first I couldn't believe what I was hearing. . .then I got very red and choked up. All I could say was, What did I do?' John, after reading the list of your professional and post-retirement ventures, we'd like to ask: WHAT DIDN'T YOU DO?

©2020 Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame

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